2019 Awards – Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot

The Milk Teeth logo from the chalkboard just inside the door at Portland Square.The last of today’s 2019 Coffee Spot Awards shortlists is the “Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot”. In 2018 this went to Milk Teeth Café & Stores and it celebrates those Coffee Spots which are firmly rooted in, and which serve, their local communities. Unsurprisingly, the shortlist contains some of my favourite Coffee Spots of the year, which are often slightly off the beaten track.

This Award has quite a wide geographical spread, with the shortlist featuring Coffee Spots from as far as Echo Park in Los Angeles to Kanazawa in Japan, as well as plenty from closer to (my) home, including Walthamstow and Streatham.

You can see the shortlist after the gallery.

  • Liar Liar, creating a wonderful, neighbourhood feel in the market town of Oswestry.
  • Maverick Coffee, my home-from-home during my week in Phoenix earlier this year.
  • The Steam Room, excuding the neighbourhood vibe in Harborne, west of Birmingham.
  • Madcap, Fulton, a chilled, laid back coffee shop in Grand Rapids, next to the roastery.
  • Coffee@33 in Brighton, like popping over to your friend's house for coffee.
  • Woodcat Coffee Bar, a real community gem in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighbourhood.
  • Estate Office Coffee, an example of a neighbourhood coffee shop done well in Streatham.
  • Staying in Streatham, Big Bad Wolf Coffee, led by example by owner, Andrew.
  • Wood St Coffee, eponymous with speciality coffee in Walthamstow.
  • Staying in Walthamstow, Froth & Rind took over where Wood St left off on Orford Road.
  • Dudley's is the third Walthamstow entry on this shortlist.
  • Cafe Névé, Rachel, my neighbourhood coffee shop during my 10 days in Montréal.
  • First Draft Coffee & Wine, the corner pub in coffee shop form in Dublin.
  • Curio Espresso and Vintage Design, a home-from-home in Kanazawa.
  • Lost Sheep Coffee, generatng a sense of community in Canterbury Bus Station.
Liar Liar, creating a wonderful, neighbourhood feel in the market town of Oswestry.1 Maverick Coffee, my home-from-home during my week in Phoenix earlier this year.2 The Steam Room, excuding the neighbourhood vibe in Harborne, west of Birmingham.3 Madcap, Fulton, a chilled, laid back coffee shop in Grand Rapids, next to the roastery.4 Coffee@33 in Brighton, like popping over to your friend's house for coffee.5 Woodcat Coffee Bar, a real community gem in Los Angeles' Echo Park neighbourhood.6 Estate Office Coffee, an example of a neighbourhood coffee shop done well in Streatham.7 Staying in Streatham, Big Bad Wolf Coffee, led by example by owner, Andrew.8 Wood St Coffee, eponymous with speciality coffee in Walthamstow.9 Staying in Walthamstow, Froth & Rind took over where Wood St left off on Orford Road.10 Dudley's is the third Walthamstow entry on this shortlist.11 Cafe Névé, Rachel, my neighbourhood coffee shop during my 10 days in Montréal.12 First Draft Coffee & Wine, the corner pub in coffee shop form in Dublin.13 Curio Espresso and Vintage Design, a home-from-home in Kanazawa.14 Lost Sheep Coffee, generatng a sense of community in Canterbury Bus Station.15
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There are 15 Coffee Spots on the shortlist this year, all listed in order of publication.

Some lovely latte art in my flat white at Liar, Liar in Oswestry.Liar Liar

In the market town of Oswestry, Liar Liar serves some excellent coffee and awesome food. Perhaps best of all is the neighbourhood feel, where all the customers seem to know each other and a warm welcome is assured. Liar Liar is also on three more shortlists: Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot, Best Breakfast & Most Popular Coffee Spot.

A lovely flat white, made with the guest espresso, the Runaway Blend from Yellow Brick Coffee in Tucson and served at Maverick Coffee in Phoenix.Maverick Coffee

Maverick Coffee is in Scottsdale, in Arizona, part of a large, open air mall right next to my hotel. I was a near constant visit during my week there earlier this year and what impressed me was the neighbourhood feel, which I wasn’t expecting and all of which contributed to the welcoming atmosphere. Maverick Coffee is also on the shortlist for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Best Filter Coffee Awards.

An espresso in a classic blue cup at The Steam Room in Harborne, Birmingham.The Steam Room

The Steam Room is in a suburban area of Harborne, west of Birmingham. Serving weekly single-origins from Has Bean on espresso, batch-brew and pour-over, with the decaf being given equal billing, it’s a real gem, with an extensive brunch menu, which brings in the locals, giving it a real community feel. The Steam Room is also on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Most Popular Coffee Spot shortlists.

An exclusive naturally-occurring varietal from El Salvador, served as an espresso in a snifter glass at Madcap, Fulton in Grand Rapids.Madcap, Fulton

One of three Madcap locations in Grand Rapids, the coffee shop on Fulton is co-located with Madcap’s roastery. A little way out of the centre, and occupying an old garage, Madcap has a laid back, community vibe, with customers and staff on first name terms, happily chatting at the counter. The coffee is pretty awesome too, with the usual Madcap offering. Madcap has also been shortlisted for the Best Espresso Award.

An espresso shot extracting on the Mavam modular espresso system at Brighton's Coffee @33.Coffee@33

Coffee@33 has long been one of Brighton’s hidden gems, going strong since 2008. I first visited in 2013, when it seemed to me that most of the customers were regulars, something which hadn’t changed when I revisited at the end of last year. Like many of the best places, Coffee@33 felt like popping round to your friend’s house for coffee! Coffee@33 has also been shortlisted for the Best Roaster/Retailer Award.

The Woodcat (it's a hare, by the way) logo from the wall behind the counter in Echo Park, Los Angeles.Woodcat Coffee Bar

Located in Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighbourhood, Woodcat Coffee Bar is a labour of love by owners, Janine & Saadat, who, failing to find any good coffee in Echo Park, opened their own shop in 2014. Starting on a shoestring with lots of support from the local community, Saadat built pretty much everything using reclaimed materials. Woodcat is also on the Most Passionate About Coffee shortlist.

Estate Office Coffee in Streatham, as seen from directly across the road.Estate Office Coffee

From Echo Park in Los Angeles to Streatham in South West London, the next entry is Estate Office Coffee, is a great example of a neighbourhood coffee shop done well, Clark with the owners keeping things simple but effective. There’s the standard Allpress blend and decaf served from a concise espresso-based menu, joined by a guest roaster on batch-brew through the Moccamaster.

An El Salvador single-origin espresso from Clifton Coffee Roasters in a classic white espresso at Big Bad Wolf Coffee.Big Bad Wolf Coffee

Staying in South West London, Big Bad Wolf is just down the road from Estate Office Coffee, and is another neighbourhood gem, led by owner/chief Barista, Andrew, who provides a warm welcome behind the counter. Just as welcoming is the coffee, from Clifton Coffee Roasters, with two options on espresso and two more on pour-over. Big Bad Wolf is also on the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting and Most Passionate About Coffee shortlists.

The Wood St Coffee logo, taken from the sign outside Blackhorse Workshop in Walthamstow.Wood St Coffee

Staying in London, Wood St Coffee has been an ever-present in Walthamstow for almost as long as I’ve been doing the Coffee Spot. Now in its third incarnation at the Blackhorse Workshop, it feels like a part of the neighbourhood, offering excellent coffee (roasted in a container in the yard) and wonderful food, including a weekend brunch. Wood St Coffee has also been shortlisted for the Best Outdoor Seating and Best Breakfast Awards.

A lovely espresso in a classic blue cup, made using the Curved Brick seasonal espresso blend, served at Froth & Rind in Walthamstow.Froth & Rind

Staying in Walthamstow, Froth & Rind has been around almost as long as Wood St Coffee, opening next door to Wood St’s second location on Orford Road shortly after Wood St moved to Blackhorse Workshop. An unusual place, in that it combines speciality coffee with craft beer (froth) and fine cheese (rind), Froth & Rind is another neighbourhood gem.

Dudley's in Walthamstow, with its door on the corner, open and welcoming you in.Dudley’s

The third of three entries from Walthamstow, Dudley’s is a comparative newcomer, having only opened this year, ironically located on Wood Street, just down from the original home of Wood St Coffee. Despite having only been open for a few months by the time I visited, Dudley’s (named after the owner’s dog), already had a neighbourhood feel to it. Dudley’s has also been shortlisted for the Best Coffee Spot near a Railway Station Award.

A lovely cortado, in a glass, made with the house-blend at Café Névé on Rue Rachel in Montréal.Café Névé, Rachel

On Rue Rachel in Montréal, Café Névé was around the corner from the apartment I was staying in. I used Café Névé as my neighbourhood coffee shop, calling in almost every day for breakfast at the weekends (good enough for a place on the Best Breakfast Award shortlist) and for coffee on my way to the office during the week (which got Café Névé a place on the Best Takeaway Coffee Award shortlist).

A lovely flat white in a class white cup on a black saucer, made with an El Mirador single-origin from Guatemala, roasted by Roasted Brown and served at First Draft Coffee & Wine in Dublin.First Draft Coffee & Wine

Nestled in the quiet, residential streets of Portobello, just to the south of Dublin city centre, First Draft Coffee & Wine is very much part of the neighbour, serving coffee during the day and a wide selection of wine in the evening, all led by the infectious enthusiasm of the delightful owner, Ger. First Draft is also on the Best Flat White and Most Unlikely Place to Find a Coffee Spot shortlists.

Details of the sign from outside Curio Espresso and Vintage Design in Kanazawa.Curio Espresso and Vintage Design

Curio Espresso and Vintage Design was an unexpected find in Kanazawa, visible from the window of my hotel. Offering a slice of Seattle coffee culture on the north coast of Japan, Curio is a home-from-home for travellers as well as attracting a regular, local clientele. Curio has also been shortlisted for the Coffee Spot with the Best Lighting Award.

Detail from the chipboard box next to the Lost Sheep Coffee Pod in Saint George's Lane, Canterbury.Lost Sheep Coffee

Lost Sheep Coffee, in Canterbury, may operate from a small black pod in the bus station, but it has a real neighbourhood feel to it, with most of the customers (from what I could tell) being regulars. I even caught the off-duty baristas hanging out there on a previous visit, which speaks volumes! Lost Sheep Coffee also been shortlisted for the Best Takeaway Coffee and Most Passionate About Coffee Awards.


And the winner is Lost Sheep Coffee
Runners-up: Wood St Coffee and Woodcat Coffee Bar

Don’t forget to check out the other 19 Coffee Spot Awards for 2019.


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8 thoughts on “2019 Awards – Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot

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